Kolleen Maria Gipson: A Journey of Love, Strength, and Motherhood

In this narrative, we delve into the remarkable life of Kolleen Maria Gipson, the mother of the renowned singer and songwriter Erykah Badu. Born in Grimes, Texas, around 1950, Kolleen faced life’s challenges with remarkable bravery, leaving an indelible mark on the world. This article explores her background, marriage, the challenges she overcame as a single mother, and her profound influence on Erykah Badu’s life.

Early Years and Marriage:

Kolleen Maria Gipson Wright, the first-ever gypsy, entered the world around 1950 in Grimes, Texas. Unfortunately, details about her family, siblings, and early life remain elusive. She married William Wright Jr. in Dallas, Texas, on August 21, 1970, and became the mother of three children: Erykah Badu, Nayrok Wright, and Eevin Wright.

The specifics of Kolleen’s passing are unknown, but her legacy lives on through her daughter, Erykah Badu, and grandchildren, Puma Sabiti Cury and Seven Sirius Benjamin.

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Post-Marriage Life and Single Motherhood:

Both Kolleen Maria Gipson and William Wright Jr. were performers. Even after parting ways with her husband, Kolleen continued her career in the arts. Following their divorce, she was responsible for raising Erykah Badu and her siblings independently.

During this period, Erykah Badu’s hit song “Miss Jackson” was created, reflecting the emotional aftermath of her parents’ separation. Kolleen expressed pride when her daughter wrote a song specifically dedicated to her, commemorated by a license plate reading “Ms. Jackson’s approved.”

Erykah Badu’s Deep Connection with Her Mother:

Kolleen Maria Gipson’s influence on Erykah Badu’s life was profound. Erykah, in turn, wrote a song titled “To All the Baby’s Mama‚Ķ Mama’s,” expressing her emotions after the end of a significant relationship. She later sang this Grammy-winning song to her mother and husband, William Wright Jr., as a heartfelt expression of her feelings.

Erykah cherished her mother, who remained a constant presence throughout her life. The duo shared a close bond, and even in the face of life’s challenges, Erykah Badu remained by her mother’s side until the very end.

Erykah Badu’s Journey:

Born Erica Abi Wright in Dallas, Texas, Erykah Badu faced the challenges of growing up in a single-parent household. Raised by her mother following the separation from her father, William Wright Jr., Erykah’s upbringing was marked by the support of her extended family, including her grandparents.

Her godmother, Gwen Hargrove, and uncle, TBAAL founder Curtis King, played pivotal roles in nurturing her talents from a young age. Badu’s artistic journey continued as she pursued drama at Grambling State University. However, her passion for music led her to leave the institution in 1993, and she eventually signed a record deal with Universal Records.

Despite financial struggles, Erykah Badu persevered, working multiple minimum-wage jobs to make ends meet. Her dedication to her craft bore fruit when she collaborated with D’Angelo on the duet “Your Precious Love” and secured a record deal.


Kolleen Maria Gipson’s life is a testament to strength, resilience, and the enduring power of a mother’s love. As we reflect on her journey and her profound impact on Erykah Badu’s life, it becomes clear that the legacy of Kolleen Maria Gipson lives on through the music and artistry of her talented daughter.